Deeper Dive: Syracuse Loses Heartbreaker

Breaking down Syracuse's overtime loss to No. 8 Louisville.

Top Performer: Tyler Lydon did a little bit of everything in this one. He scored 14 points, grabbed nine rebounds, dished out four assists, blocked three shots and picked up three steals. He showcased his all around game for Syracuse, and had a significant impact on the game. Despite that, there were moments when he could have been more aggressive.  

Bottom Feeder: It was an excusable poor performance from freshman Tyus Battle, as he is coming back from a bout with the flu. In 26 minutes, Battle scored only two points on 1-7 shooting, including 0-5 from beyond the arc. Once he gets back in the swing of things, he will bounce back. The six days off will do him, and the rest of the team, a lot of good. 

Stat of the Game: 2-14. That was the three-point shooting for Andrew White, who missed open look after open look in this one. It was an unusually subpar shooting performance for White, who had been lights out in conference play. If he is anywhere close to his normal shooting, Syracuse wins. 

Turning Point: Syracuse battled back in regulation and overtime to give themselves a shot to win in both sessions. At the end of overtime with the Orange down by two, Andrew White forced a three-pointer that missed badly, and Tyler Roberson grabbed the rebound. He was fouled on the put-back with 2.7 seconds left. He missed both free-throws, essentially ending any chance SU had. 

He Said It: "These guys fight. When you’re down against Louisville seven, eight or nine in regulation and you come back and have a chance to actually win the game, that’s unbelievable. Then you’re down nine in overtime and you get it to two. Louisville is a top 10 team, top five maybe. That’s an unbelievable accomplishment to come back like that against a team like that. An unbelievable effort. You really have no chance in games against Louisville when they’re pressing and you’re down nine points in regulation and come back and have a shot to win the game. That’s impossible." - Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.

Five Takeaways:

  1. The biggest takeaway from this game is that this team does not quit. Despite a subpar shooting game from White, Battle being ineffective John Gillon not having his best game, Syracuse was still in it. They had legitimate chances to win at the end of regulation and overtime. Expect them to be in each of the final four games of the regular season. 
  2. This was the second straight solid performance by Franklin Howard. He finished with eight points and two assists. He was solid defensively, made the extra pass and got into the lane. He has made strides in the last two games, and could be a valuable contributor off the bench going forward.  
  3. Taurean Thompson continues to be an enigma. He shows flashes of brilliance, then makes a defensive mistake. He scored 11 points in the second half, helping to keep Syracuse within striking distance. That said, he made a couple of defensive errors that led to easy buckets. 
  4. There were plenty of things to point to as to why Syracuse lost. Poor three-point shooting, being dominated on the boards down the stretch, not capitalizing on opportunities etc. But, the officiating in this game was just bad. It was incredibly inconsistent and many calls did not go Syracuse's way that could have or should have. One example was at the end of regulation, when Gillon was clearly fouled on his drive in the final seconds. No call was made. A second example was at the end of overtime when Roberson missed his second free-throw. Lydon was clearly shoved during the rebounding scramble. He should have had two free-throws to tie the game. Instead, there was no call and the cam was essentially over. 
  5. Despite the loss, Syracuse's NCAA Tournament hopes are not dashed. They still rest in front of them. Sweeping Georgia Tech would go a long way towards that goal. As would a win over Duke. Winning three of the last four would put Syracuse in. Winning two puts them in a good spot, but an ACC Tournament win may be needed to seal the deal. Sunday's game at Georgia Tech becomes very important. 

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